Doing a Stand-Up Job is Good for Your Health

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There is a new life-threatening danger at the workplace. No, not carpal-tunnel syndrome from excessive keyboarding or radiation from using the microwave to nuke your lunch. It’s not the stress from your annoying boss or co-workers or the chemical gas given off from the new office carpeting. It’s something so common that everyone is in danger at some point in the workday, regardless of job, position or location. What could this new terror be? Sitting.


Picture the productive worker, and you find her crouched in front of a computer screen for hours on end. Even manufacturing plants are now run by complicated computer systems, eliminating the need to walk long distances or climb stairs or ladders to check on equipment. The very tools that make work easier can make us sick and contribute to some pretty scary medical issues.


Eliminating extra chairs in the office was a time-management tool used to discourage people from settling in and getting too comfortable. With this latest revelation, you can toss your ergonomically-perfect office chair out the window. Two recent studies in The British Journal of Sports Medicine and Diabetologia found that the hazards of sitting aren’t just for couch potatoes or those who sit all day. Even those who are fit and active can fall prey to this silent killer. 


People who sit at work, or fly long-distances in cramped airline seats have long been cautioned to get up and move around to prevent leg cramps and other circulatory problems. But according to an article in the New York Times, “Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics,” these two studies found some amazing results from just an hour of sitting. The body stops producing fat-burning enzymes by as much as 90%, reducing the metabolism of glucose, and lowers good cholesterol in the blood—all risk factors for heart disease and Type-2 diabetes.


Will this new information take business culture back to MBWA—Management by walking around? Will employees choose to get up and walk over to the next cubicle to ask a question instead of sending an email?Getting up off your chair is one way to counteract the effects of sitting. Office furniture manufacturers are creating adjustable desks so that workers can stand up and work instead of sitting all day. There is even a desk with a treadmill attached. You can get your 20-minute workout and finish that tax audit report at the same time!


Some stand-up work stations from major manufacturers are pricey, costing thousands. Smaller companies and start-ups offer their own versions for much less. How businesses will accommodate the new workstations and the noise of all those motors humming is another question.


If sitting over an hour is recognized as a workplace health hazard, will employees be required to take a walk every hour? Companies will have to weigh the negative effects of sitting against productivity lost by a stand-up workforce.


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  • Mary Nestor-Harper
    Mary Nestor-Harper
    Robyn,What a wonderful co-worker!  Good thing you took his advice and not your supervisor's.  As a writer, I sit a good part of the day, and I'm getting up at least once an hour to get moving.  Thanks for the comment.
  •  Robyn B
    Robyn B
    There is one other danger from sitting for 8 hours, I had to have a emergency bypass for a blood clot in my leg. I had an intense pain and had a hard time walking from car to desk.  When my foot went numb, My supervisor told me to take a few Tylenol it would go away. MY co worker said to me to go to DR. He was right, I was immediately  admitted to the hospital. I had to have a femoral bypass.  

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